Dani Diamond Interview: NYC Fashion, Food & Commercial Photographer

I recently came across the work of Dani Diamond online by chance while browsing through some well-known portrait photographers. What I loved the most about him was the impeccable results of his portraits.

Known for his breathtaking portraits and signature style, Dani Diamond has now taken over all forms of social media.

As a boy, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and now lives in Connecticut with his wife Etty. His journey into photography was merely just a hobby after he graduated with a degree in business administration.

In this interview, we learn a little more about Dani and find out how he got started and what makes him the photographer he is today.

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I see that five years ago, photography was really never an interest to you. From graduating with a degree in business administration and now known for your signature style photographs. How did this happen?

I never really had any direction when applying to businesses school, it was just something I chose to do since I knew it could lead to many different paths. I was fascinated by the technical side of cameras which sparked an interest. One thing leads to the next and I now do photography for a living.

I believe that you take your critics and fans very seriously. They have played a vital role in shaping you as a photographer. Can you please throw some more light on this?

I’m a big believer that I was not born talented in taking portraits. I owe a lot of my style to those that commented on my work when I was starting out. If I saw people responded well to specific details of my work, I made sure to implement them in future work. This helped mold the signature style I have today.

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After having moved to photography, have you ever have had second thoughts?

Yes, all the time. Photography is a very saturated field since anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer easily. With the right connections, anyone can land any job. We see celebrities deciding they are photographers all the time and shooting big brands. This scares me, unlike being a doctor I have no guarantee that I will have a job in 10 years from now. However, I’m stuck right now in a place where I love my job and making a comfortable living to provide for my family so going out and finding a different job is not too appealing for me. None the less I do have second thoughts.

What was the first camera that you used and do you still use it?

A Nikon D90 and no I shoot with a D800 now and couldn’t be happier with the dynamic range and resolution it has.

Known for your breathtaking portraits and signature style, can you tell us how important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects?

Believe it or not the connection I make sure the subject has with me(the camera) IS the signature look in my portraits. The colours, blurred background, clothing and retouching is all just smoke around the essence of a portrait. Without that connection, the portrait will not speak to the audience.

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What have you learned about yourself from shooting portraits?

That anyone can make themselves a peoples person and outgoing with effort. I had a very hard time growing up making conversation with strangers. It is now a pleasure for me to meet new people and instantly become friends.

How did you come up with the idea of “The Project”? I personally find it to be a super duper idea.

As mentioned above I had a hard time meeting new people and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera. To push myself to master this I looked for the hardest subjects to photograph, if I can make them feel comfortable in front of the camera, surely I can make anyone. Who is the hardest? Photographers by far. They hate being photographed. Thus the idea of The Project was born.

What are your favourite shooting locations?

Any city, I love the neutral colours.

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How do you work your magic when it comes to natural light portraiture & retouching?

Starting with a good image is key. Contrast, lighting and focus on the eyes. I walk a lot more than I shoot. I will not turn on my camera until I find the perfect light and background.

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I find the above picture absolutely stunning! Can you tell us a little about how you had set up for this portrait?

At the end of this shoot with @modelninajade as she was walking next to me I noticed perfect light and opportunity to snap a shot, it was candid. A year after I took the image I came back to it and kind of liked it so I went ahead and retouched it. I took this with a D800 and 85mm 1.4G

Would you like to say something to all the aspiring photographer who has just started photography?

Find yourself a job that will pay you well and do photography as a hobby. You will enjoy producing art more this way and live a much more stress-free life. The second money is involved you will find yourself taking jobs since it pays well rather than something you’re enjoying. Becoming a photographer is appealing until you have a mortgage, tuition, insurance and bills that force you to take jobs you have no interest in doing.

Find out more information on Dani Diamond photography tutorials & insights here!